One of the UK government’s latest ideas (though it’s been kicking around for a long time) is ‘presumed consent’ for organ donation. This means that, unless the family of a dead person specifically object, doctors can harvest such organs as they see fit.
The argument in favour is simple; hundreds of people die every year who could be saved by donations from people who, quite obviously, don’t need them any more. The argument against is more abstract, but also more fundamental; my body belongs to me, not the government, and that’s true before I’m born and when I’m dead just as much as when I’m alive.
My natural reaction is to be against this idea. I’m a registered donor and my family knows it, so I have no problem with donation in general, but I really dislike the idea that the government can help itself to what it wants. In fact this struck me as an extreme, if not literal, form of communism; from each according to his ability, whether he wants to or not.
Another reason to be against it is that the fix is very simple. If you’re not a registered donor for at least a year before you’re diagnosed with a condition requiring a transplant, you don’t get one. Any time you register for something from the government, be it a birth certificate, passport or driving license, you have to make a choice about donation. No default is filled in, so you have to pick one for yourself.
Such a quick fix gives me time to tell you about the Donner Card, which reads “I would like someone to help themselves to my kebab after my death”